By MPR News Staff, MPR News
Prosecutors say the man who allegedly threw a 5-year-old boy off the third floor at the Mall of America Friday had come to the mall Thursday intending to kill an adult but that it did not “work out,” and so on Friday he returned and chose the boy instead.
Emmanuel Aranda, 24, is charged with first-degree attempted murder. He is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and prosecutors will be seeking bail of $2 million, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in a statement .
He allegedly told police he knew what he was planning to do was wrong, that he’d been coming to the mall for years, tried to speak to women there and they rejected him, which made him lash out.
“This crime has shocked the community,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “That a child, with his mother, at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone. Our victim advocates are working with the family during this very difficult time for them.”
Officials have not named the child, who was badly injured after falling some 40 feet and has been described as fighting for his life, saying the family is requesting privacy.
According to the criminal complaint, about 10:15 a.m. Friday, the victim and his mother were outside the Rain Forest Cafe on the mall’s third floor.
The mother saw Aranda, whom she had never seen before, come close to them and she asked if they should move, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said.
Instead, Aranda picked up the boy and threw him over the railing, the complaint states.
Prosecutors say Aranda then ran, pushing to a wall a witness who tried to stop him. Police were able to capture him on the light-rail train outside the mall.
Prosecutors said they intend to pursue a longer sentence based on the aggravating factors of particular cruelty, the vulnerability of the boy and committing the violent act in front of other children and the boy’s mother.